Monday, February 29, 2016

More Fantasyland Construction Photos

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

Today I have the last of my photos showing the construction of the "New Fantasyland", probably taken in 1982. It was fun while it lasted.

It's a mess down there! Look at that lumber. Actually, those are some nice looking planks! Cement mixers, a porta-potty, drain pipes, and dirt a-plenty. What do you think that strange three-legged wooden thing is that is leaning near the Skyway sign in the upper left? There's a Chevy pickup in the lower right, possibly with tanks of welding gas in the back. "WHAT of welding gas?". "Tanks". "You're welcome! HA HA HA!".

And finally, here's what you would see if you had walked through Sleeping Beauty Castle from Main Street... an attractive and gluten free construction wall with an illustrated sign (which lit up at night... see the tiny lightbulbs?). You can see some of those round vignettes from Disney animated classics HERE.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pack Mules, Mid-1960's

It's Sunday, and that means that it is time for more so-so images. It's nothing personal! Low Sunday  readership gives me the chance to use up some stuff that is ordinarily not ready for prime time.

I actually quite enjoy this first photo, a rare view taken from the back of a trusty Pack Mule as it lopes along one of the trails through Nature's Wonderland. YOU ARE THERE! It's hard to say where this was taken, since we only see a bit of grassy hill on our left, with an apparent drop-off to our right.

This is a photo that does not belong to me... I found it on the internet years ago. If it belongs to you, let me know and I'll give you credit! Anyway, besides being a beautiful and striking photo, it looks like the line of mules and riders might be approaching the part of the trail that we see in the first picture.

This one was essentially a reject, but... all bets are off today. It's very blurry, however we can tell that the intrepid riders are somewhere in the vicinity of the Rainbow Desert.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hangin' At the U.N., 1962

Here are two slides (one good, one so-so!) from New York City - or more specifically, over at the United Nations headquarters in Turtle Bay. While we don't get a look at the distinctive exterior of the U.N. building, I really love this shot taken from out front, looking toward United Nations Plaza. I can't quite figure out the nearby cross street... unsurprisingly, many tall buildings have sprung up in this area in the intervening 50+ years. Maybe one of you is familiar with the area!

In any case, I just love it as a freeze-frame of a time and a place. All of the ladies and gentlemen (and even a few kids in the background) are nicely dressed, as if they were extras in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (filmed just 3 years earlier). The clothes, the trees in their autumn foliage (it was October)... the whole thing is fun.

From the same batch comes this unusual view from inside the U.N., looking Southwest toward a factory (or power plant?) that is long-gone today, though you often see it in vintage images. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Special Guest Photos - The Devlin Family - Part 06

Today I have more photos from the Devlin family... we've moved April, 1960 to September, 1961. 

First up is this beautiful shot taken from the Skyway as we head from Fantasyland toward the Matterhorn, and on into Tomorrowland. The snow level is still pretty high at this point... seems like in later photos, the mountain became icier and snowier. One of the twin Fantasyland eateries is to our left (beneath the "tent"). Part of the "Mr. Toad" façade is to our right, while a bit of the Alice in Wonderland attraction can be seen in the distance.

Two Skyway vehicles pass each other in opposite directions, and what do you know... two Devlin boys are in the other bucket! It's Joe and Patrick. Below, we can see the House of the Future, and the geodesic dome that was used to display plastic wonders such as patio furniture and artificial grass.

Stay tuned for more photos, courtesy of the Devlin Family!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Scenes From the New York World's Fair

We're back at the World's Fair, circa October 1964!

Let's start with this first view. The Unisphere can't help overwhelming everything around it, but in the foreground is a smaller bronze armillary sphere (or spherical astrolabe), originally created for the 1939/40 World's Fair by Paul Manship, who is perhaps most famous for his golden statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center. As you can see, the constellations are represented by signs of the zodiac. 

In the 1970's, 8 of the 12 zodiac sculptures were pilfered by thieves. and in the 80's, 2 more figures, and even some of the circular bands holding the piece together were stolen. Copies of the missing pieces were made from the artist's original casts, and eventually the bull representing Taurus turned up in the home of a plumber, but the armillary still needs to be restored before it can be shown in public again. This is why we can't have nice things!

Next is this photo of a statue in front of Spain's pavilion (which LIFE magazine called the "jewel of the Fair"); the statue represents Queen Isabella, who was the patron of Christopher Columbus. The bronze statue is almost 9 feet tall, and was sculpted by artist Jose Luis Sanchez. I was very curious as to why there seemed to be so many floral tributes left at the foot of the statue, and was happy to find this bit of info at the wonderful nywf64 website

"October 12th was proclaimed to be the Day of Spain at the Fair. On account of this there were different events held in which the affection of the Ibero-American countries toward Spain became manifest and was symbolized principally in the offerings of flowers and fruits before the statue of Queen Isabella the Catholic which presides over the Pavilion of Spain"

Interesting! I think we have an exact date for today's three photographs.

And finally, here's a photo of the Masonic Brotherhood Center. where one would have found displays of Masonic memorabilia and history going back many hundreds of years.  Note the structure in the shape of the square and compass, two of the key symbols of the Masons. I had seen this glyph with the letter "G" before, but never knew what it stood for... apparently the "G" stand for "The Great Architect of the Universe" (though it might also stand for "Geometry"). There was an 11-foot tall statue of George Washington; did you know that the first 14 American Presidents were Freemasons?

Luminaire alert!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Midget Utopia, 1957

The Disneyland Autopias were very popular from day 1, and only continued to become more in demand as the years went by, until there were (for a while) three of them operating at once. 

It seems only natural that small children would be the ones who most wanted to experience the thrill of driving, but the Tomorrowland Autopia cars were just too large for them. Even the Junior Autopia (which opened in 1956), with blocks placed on the gas pedal for those with shorter legs, were too much for the younger kids. And so, on April 23, 1957, the Midget Autopia (dammit, auto-correct, I do not mean "utopia"!!) debuted.

The Midget Autopia was basically an off-the-shelf ride with twin steering wheels, and a track/bus-bar to keep the kids from losing control. A scenic, winding roadway provided pleasant views and small-scale thrills. This little red number is a beauty, and the front end has a distinctly friendly "face"!

This kid looks particularly cool. All he needs is a cell phone and some shades, he could be a movie star. The Midget Autopia lasted just under nine years, closing on April 3, 1966, when it was removed for the addition of "It's a Small World".

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Snapshots, September 1971

There's something about today's snapshots that remind me of the 1965 Donruss bubblegum cards that I shared on this blog a while ago. Maybe it's their smallish size, maybe it's the white border. Or even the way the colors look. OR I am insane, which is a distinct possibility. 

Sleeping Beauty Castle looks pretty swell here, very summery and friendly. Ivy has swallowed nearly half of it, and the colorful banners add some nice accents. I can't believe I've never noticed before, but it appears that the tops of those banner poles are supposed to be medieval torches... did they actually ignite at some point later in the day?

Meanwhile I love the 70's fashions. Stripes! And that guy's orange-ish brown suit is awesome.

Next we have this nice aerial view of the "Patrick Henry" as it glides on its track through the lagoon, heading toward the waterfall that is the entry into the dark ride portion of the attraction. At the top of the image you can see lots of toylike Fantasyland Autopia cars, and even a Motor Boat in the upper right.

Monday, February 22, 2016

More Disneyland Hotel Aerial Pix, July 9, 1979

Continuing our look at some aerial photos circa 1979, I present these two examples. The photographer/pilot was clearly more interested in the Hotel than the park (which is not how I would have done things), but we do get a last look at half of Disneyland in this one. You can see the giant show buildings for the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, the entry and ticket booths, the Monorail track snaking through the parking lot, and even the Submarine Lagoon.

Presumably the parking lot in the lower left was for Hotel employees or guests? I wonder what the name of that little motel just to its right was? 

Here's where things may start getting a bit tedious for you, the humble and lovable reader. The final six photos in this series are various angles of the Hotel, getting gradually closer and closer. I'm not saying that they're not fun... after all, this shows things as they were 37 years ago. But it's a lot of the same thing over and over. You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Pair From the mid-1960's

Here are two so-so photos from the 1960's (they are undated, but some others show the square Skyway buckets, so that's a least a bit of a clue). 

Marc Davis cooked up this classic "Lost Safari" scene, added in 1964, and it has remained largely unchanged  for over 50 years. As a kid I loved the laughing hyenas.

Here's a pretty shot of the Mark Twain... I was trying to figure out where the photographer was standing, and I am guessing that he/she was on Tom Sawyer Island. What do you think?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Shriners in Los Angeles, 1950!

A year or two ago I acquired a small group of slides featuring a whole lot of Shriners in Los Angeles. They're pretty fun!

On June 20th, 1950, the 135,000 Nobles came to downtown Los Angeles for several days of parades and general celebration (the full name for the Shriners, pre-2010, was the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Now they go by "Shriners International").

This first photo shows view of one of the three parades that took place; we're looking Northeast on S. Olive Street. Love that Alka-Seltzer sign! To the right is Pershing Square, right in the heart of L.A. As you can see, an enormous "Arabian Bazaar" was held there - wouldn't you love to see what wares were for sale? 

The June 21, 1950 issues of the Chicago Tribune reported: "The downtown parade which culminated in the coliseum was the high point so far in the 76th imperial session of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Some 135,000 Shriners are here from all parts of the United States. Deputations also are present from Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii".

The Trib continues: "...Prominently in the line of march were 280 richly-attired horsemen, six camels, and unique mechanized equipment ranging from a 1901 automobile from Louisville, Ky., to a cable car from San Francisco".

Hey, I think this is that very cable car, towed by a tractor!

Here's an unlovely screen grab from Google Maps' "Street View". It needs more fezzes.

Here's a second view, with crowds of nicely-dressed, curious people. Love the fedoras! Or are they Panama hats? At least one booth is serving fresh orange juice, which is one of my favorite things. Notice the banners on the light posts... "Welcome, Nobles". Looks like the city really rolled out the red carpet for the Shriners! At the time, Harold Lloyd was the the "Imperial Potentate", which is pretty cool.

On a related note, I wanted to include this scan from a two-page spread from Charles Pheonix's book, "Southern Californialand". It's a great book if you love amazing color images from the 1940's, 50's, and 60's. He really does have incredible stuff. Go see one of his live performances if you can! Anyway, this image is from the same Shriner's Bazaar, a fantastic view taken from the historic Biltmore Hotel.

I have a few more slides of this crazy event, if you are interested!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mark Twain and Gambler, November 1955

Photos from 1955 are pretty scarce, since the park was only open for the latter half of that year... I don't have very many! Today's are from November of that year; there is something special about them, knowing that the legendary opening ceremonies had only been four months earlier. Walt still strolled the grounds regularly, looking for ways to improve his newest endeavor, from picking up trash to rejiggering pathways to riding attractions in order to spot problems.

This first photo is a beautiful shot of the Mark Twain in the afternoon, probably taken from the Disneyland Railroad at the northwest corner of the park looking slightly southeast. Unless I'm wrong! But you can see the TWA Moonliner in the distance, as well as some spires of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Tom Sawyer Island would not be open for months, though this end was never open to the public.

This next one was taken from the dock as the Twain heads back to civilization. In the foreground is a character I don't believe I have seen before... a gambler, by the looks of him! Perhaps he could only be found on the riverboat landing in those early months? He pops up in one or two other photos from this batch (because, as usual, the photographer took more photos of the Twain than anything else). Note the Stagecoach just beyond the gambler's left ear.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Special Guest Photos - The Devlin Family - Part 05

It's time for more Devlin family photos, circa April, 1960!

This first example, from the Tomorrowland Autopia,  is full of fun details. For one, almost everyone is bundled up against what must have been a cool (and blustery?) April day. The cast members are working hard, so they are fine in short sleeves. The girl to the left is performing an interpretive "Transportation Dance", while the Monorail and multiple levels of Autopia cars zoom around her. 

Judy Devlin is at the wheel of the pale yellow "Mark V" vehicle, with little sister Mary beside her. The Mark V cars were notoriously heavy, and were distinctive with their Buick headlights.

PS... there's no center rail yet!

Next we have this swell portrait of Pat, Joe, and Tom in front of the showroom-fresh Matterhorn. All three hold those classic blue striped popcorn boxes, while Pat also enjoys an ice cream bar.

And finally (for today), here's a followup to the second photo in this post... back then, I thought that Patrick was sitting near the moat, with the base of the castle nearby. But 2016 Patrick said that it was someplace else! I didn't have another guess.

So Patrick sent a link to the following 1957 photo (posted on GDB in 2011), in which you can see the little ramp where he was sitting, as well as the wall nearby. Interesting! Do you think that at this point the water is no longer considered part of the moat?

Well, that does it for April, 1960. But never fear, we have more photos from subsequent visits!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

WDW at Night, November 1971 - Swiss Family Treehouse

We're getting down to some of the last night photos, taken by my friend "Mr. X" during his visit to the Magic Kingdom in November, 1971. Can you believe that he gave me the original negatives?! But don't worry, there are still many nice daytime shots from the same group, to be shared in the near future.

All three of today's photos are from the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction; I loved the one in Disneyland (closed 17 years ago!), and the Orlando version looks just as beautiful. I always assumed that it was larger than the Anaheim tree, but Wikipedia claims that it is 10 feet shorter, but 10 feet wider. So it's a wash.

This is a nice detail of the bamboo and ship's netting railings, the light fixture (resembling a ship's lantern), and various pieces of ropes and pulleys. The thatched roof kept the family dry during the many tropical downpours (not unlike the frequent Florida rains). 

Notice the bromeliads stuck to the sides of the tree. Did you know that pineapples are bromeliads? Now you can be President of the United States! 

This is a good picture of the Robinson's dining room, including bamboo cups and steins, and crockery rescued from the shipwreck. What a pleasant place to dine on a warm Florida night! A bowl of ripe fruit hints at the bounty that their island home provided.

I included this one even though it is awfully dark. I'm not familiar enough with the Magic Kingdom to know what that structure is in the distance - do you know? We can see a small portion of the ingenious waterworks. And let's face it, tiki torches make everything cooler.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Santa Fe & Disneyland RR Flyer, 1958

I love vintage paper ephemera from Disneyland! And today I am sharing one of my favorite pieces... this fantastic (and somewhat scarce) gate handout announcing the fabulous Grand Canyon Diorama ("Largest In The World"). I still love this feature SO much, it has always been a highlight of my visits to the park, even with the advent of faster, more technologically impressive attractions.

The flyer is 12.7 inches long and approximately 5 inches wide, and is printed on pink paper that resembles thin construction paper. It looks like the kind of broadside that might have been pasted on a wall or a fence over 100 years ago. The different fonts and ornaments are fun, and I always love seeing the Santa Fe logo on Disneyland items. 

A new addition was the locomotive #3, the "Fred Gurley" (a refurbished engine from 1894), introduced on March 28, 1958. The drawings are beautiful - I wish we knew the artist who did them. Some details are off, but in general they are very nice.  For some reason, the C.K. Holliday is labeled "the E.P. Ripley", and vice-versa. Also, note that the Holliday is pulling the passenger cars, while the Ripley is pulling the freight cars. Only nerds care about such things!

Another detail is the mention of Tomorrowland Station, which I believe opened in April - the fourth station after the addition of Fantasyland Station in 1956. So that can help narrow down the date of this flyer. 

I hope you have enjoyed this vintage Disneyland flyer!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Flying Elephants! 1957

Here are  two fun photos from 1957, taken over at the "Dumbo's Flying Elephants" attraction!

Fantasyland was certainly a colorful place - all of the splashes of red, yellow, blue and green look like an ad for Kodak film. In the distance you can just see some Skyway buckets, as well as the Mr. Toad façade. The ol' Pirate Ship is to our left. A trio of kids are squeezed into one flying elephant... the boy in the middle is wearing one of those lenticular pins with Goofy's smiling face! I like the older couple in the other elephant... gramps is not sure what to do with his souvenir guidebook.

I guess the kids took at least two rides in a row, since we see one of the boys from the previous photo with yet another kid in this picture. Notice the boy's "Magic Pencil". This angle affords a good look at Dumbo's hinged ears, though they no longer flapped at this point.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Random Stuff

Say! According to Blogger's count, today is my 3,500th post. Hooray! However, I won't break out my party hat until my 10th anniversary post. That's only a few months away.

Meanwhile... I am continuing my usual Sunday tradition of sharing photos that are either less-than-wonderful, or might have otherwise been outright rejects. Just because.

If this one was a little bit clearer, it would be a real winner, but our photographer had too much coffee, or had the "yips", or something. You don't often see the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship with all of the sails unfurled... those red and white stripes look amazing. Even the cement pond looks kind of pretty, the way it's reflecting the sky.

This one goes into the category of "you win some, you lose some"... I found some stereo slides of the park from 1956, and was very excited to scan them when I held them up to a bright light. However, every single one of them is out of focus. A lot. I honestly feel like the example below is the only one that is even remotely usable. I don't know if it was a case of user error, or an equipment malfunction, but ARG, what a shame!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hill Street, Los Angeles, 1958

Here are some scans of two vintage slides from downtown Los Angeles, circa 1958. Both had turned intensely pinkish-orange, but I have restored them to something resembling "normal", though there is still some funkiness going on. And what's wrong with a little funkiness? 

So, here we are on Hill Street; the corner of 7th Street us up near the Warners Theater. Just past that (and unfortunately washed out) is a beautiful Art Deco "Sun Realty" building, covered in blue-green glazed tiles. Happily that building still stands! I love those vertical signs, which (in general) seemed to be a lot more common long ago, though some examples still survive.

Looking at Google's "Street View", it appears that some buildings to our left have been torn down, while newer structures have replaced some of those buildings (such as Quality House Liquors) that are in the first photo. I do like the purple blossoms on the jacaranda trees.

This next one is also on Hill Street, this time looking south toward 6th Street. Love the cars, the genuine vintage people crossing the street, and even the See's Candies store. In the distance you can see the Swelldon clothing store, a fixture in that area for a long time. Notice the Paramount Theater, showing "The Naked and the Dead", a WWII movie starring Cliff Robertson, Raymond Massey, and Aldo Ray. 

Unfortunately the Paramount was torn down, and a massive office complex was built in its place. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Hill Street!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Two Awesome Instamatics!

Oh boy, we're gettin' down to the bottom of the barrel of Instamatics that I've been sharing for so long. Why I keep them in a barrel, I can't really say. 

Here's a fun shot of the Delta Ramblers as they perform at the little stage over at the French Market. To this day you can listen to live music (if you time it just right) while enjoying your lunch. I will guess that they are playing "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?". 

This next example is a wonderful shot taken from the upper level of the Omnibus, looking toward Main Street Station. I really love this one! Somehow its looks like a still from a movie. It's neat to see the Horse Drawn Streetcar from this perspective; and it's fun observing the people milling around - notice the kid with his lemon popsicle (to the right) from the Sunkist shop.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Special Guest Photos - The Devlin Family - Part 04

Today I am proud to present more photos from the Devlin family collection! Normally I would be more parsimonious and only share two (or so) at a time, but these four worked together as a set. All of them are from April 23rd, 1960. 

As you can see, the family was over by the Submarine Lagoon; clouds seem to have rolled in, but that isn't going to dampen their spirits. Joe sits near the Kodak "Picture Spot" sign (while the Monorail passes by) while Patrick takes it all in.

Well, Patrick is done, he's ready for the next adventure (or at least a box of popcorn). Meanwhile, brothers Mike and Joe, sisters Mary and Susan, Tom (that's the back of his head), and mom (Mary Jo) marvel at all of these new Tomorrowland wonders, which had been in the park for less than a year - presumably this was their first time seeing all of the attractions that were added in 1959.

Here's Pat again... I wonder if the family had been on the Subs yet? He might have been trying to remember everything, or imagining what it would be like.

Here's Tom (who so generously gave me these photos!) appearing lost in his thoughts.  "This lagoon needs some mermaids!". The shallow focus gives this photo a sort of dreamy quality. 

There are more Devlin family photos to come!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Rediscovered Treasures - 1957

Today I have two more slides that I never scanned, even though others in the same lot appeared on this blog.  Go figure!

This first one is a nice oblique angle of Sleeping Beauty Castle (1957), though the day is a bit gloomy and gray.  Only five people are visible (one of them just). I like the couple near the wall, they look like they are on their way to a cocktail party. You can see the woman's earring from here. The two older ladies must have decided to come and check out this place that they've heard so much about. I believe that the roadway they are walking on  was used by the Omnibus back when it would head through parts of Fantasyland.

You know what? I have never noticed that dormer window on the castle to the extreme right!

I originally thought that this photo was taken over on the western side of the moat, but I can see some Skyway buckets through the trees. Perhaps I accidentally scanned the slide backwards? In any case, I like the colorful flowers, the picturesque little bridge, and two graceful swans.